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  >> Delhi Travel    >>   Sightseeing in New Delhi ( India )  >>   Places of Worships
JAMA MASJID
 

The Masjid-i-Jahan NumaThe Masjid-i-Jahan Numa, commonly known as Jama Masjid of Delhi is the principal mosque of Old Delhi in India. Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and completed in the year 1656 AD, it is one of the largest and best known mosques in India. It was built after demolition of a very ancient Hindu temple known as Jamna Devi temple dedicated to the Yamuna river. (There are also Jama Masjids in many other cities with a history of Islamic rule, or large Muslim populations.)



Masjid-i-Jahan Numa means "the mosque commanding a view of the world", and the name Jama Masjid is a reference to the weekly congregation observed on Friday (the yaum al-jum`a) at the mosque. The courtyard of the mosque can hold up to twenty-five thousand worshippers. The mosque also houses several relics in a closet in the north gate, including a copy of the Qur'an written on deer skin incurred on the construction in those times was ten lakh rupees. (A lakh is one hundred thousand; ten lakh therefore equals one million).

Shah Jahan built several important mosques in Delhi, Agra, Ajmer and Lahore. The Jama Masjid's floorplan is very similar to the Moti Masjid at Agra, but the Jama Masjid is the bigger and more imposing of the two. Its majesty is further enhanced because of the high ground that he selected for building this mosque.

Architecture

Jama Masjid, northeast entrance The courtyard of the mosque can be reached from the east, north and south by three flights of steps, all built of red sandstone. The northern gate of the mosque has 39 steps. The southern side of the mosque has 33 steps. The eastern gate of the mosque was the royal entrance and it has 35 steps. These steps used to house food stalls, shops and street entertainers. In the evening, the eastern side of the mosque used to be converted into a bazaar for poultry and birds in general. Prior to the 1857 War of Indian Independence, there was a madrassah near the southern side of the mosque, which was pulled down after the mutiny.
 


The mosque faces west. Its three sides are covered with open arched colonnades, each having a lofty tower-like gateway in the centre. The mosque is about 261 feet (80 m) long and 90 feet (27 m) wide, and its roof is covered with three domes with alternate stripes of black and white marble, with its topmost parts covered with gold. Two lofty minarets, 130 feet (40 m) high, and containing 130 steps, longitudinally striped with white marble and red sandstone, flank the domes on either side. The minarets are divided by three projecting galleries and are surmounted by open twelve-sided domed pavilions. On the back of the mosque, there are four small minarets crowned like those in the front.

 
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